Choosing A Healthy Diet For Your African Grey Parrot

17 December 2015
 Categories: , Blog


In the wild, African Grey parrots are accustomed to a diet consisting of a variety of proteins and carbohydrates. These birds maintain a balanced diet to retain a lean body and pristine feathers. You must make sure your parrot is getting the right mix of items in its diet or you'll end up with a heavy bird with ragged feathers. Here is how to match your bird's diet with that of its relatives in the wild.

A Natural Diet Full of Choices

The African Grey living in the tropical forests of West and Central Africa chooses from a number of fruits, vegetables and grains for their favorite foods. Natural whole grains such as oats and buckwheat provide carbohydrates and proteins for strong muscles and healthy fat layers. Spinach, kale and other leafy green vegetables provide vitamins and minerals. Fresh fruit, such as berries and mangos are their source of antioxidants.

These parrots will eat small amounts of animal protein in the way of grubs, mealworms and other insects. The smallest portion of their diet consists of the nuts and seeds they find in the forests. These give them additional protein and fat, but are most often eaten as a treat.

Each day these parrots eat a variety of foods and do not fixate on any one food item. To mimic this healthy diet, you need to give you pet bird a variety of foods every day. A diet that consists of only one food results in nutritional deficiencies that show up in a number of ways in your parrot.

Symptoms of a Poor Diet

Your parrot will show a number of signs that they aren't getting the diet they need. The symptoms start with the feathers and will extend to other parts of their body. If you see any of the following in your bird, take them to your veterinary clinic to rule out parasites, then discuss diet changes with your vet.

  • loss of color and sheen on the feathers
  • broken and ragged feathers
  • plucked feathers
  • missing feathers that don't grow back out
  • scaly patches on the legs
  • dullness in the eyes
  • frequent squatting down on their perch

A Healthy Diet for Your Parrot

Create a diet for your bird that consists mainly of fresh fruits, vegetables and grains where seeds are a minimal part. It's easy and convenient to rely on one of the bags of seeds you find in the pet food aisle of the store. A diet only of seed will result in an unhealthy bird. Work with your veterinarian to create the healthiest diet for your parrot.

Grains - High quality pelleted foods pack a number of grains into an easy to digest form. Start with this food and supplement it with a low-sodium whole grain snack such as:

  • bagels
  • pasta
  • crackers
  • pretzels

Fruits and Vegetables - A variety of these should be offered to your bird every day. Raw is best, but wash them thoroughly to remove any pesticides.


  • apples
  • bananas
  • cranberries
  • figs
  • papaya
  • pears


  • asparagus
  • bell peppers
  • carrots
  • kale
  • squash
  • zucchini

Meat - For a protein treat, give one of these cooked items to your parrot each week:

  • chicken
  • turkey
  • salmon
  • tuna

Nuts and Seeds - These should only be given as a treat and not left in their cage in large quantities to graze on throughout the day. Give your bird these nuts in the shell so your parrot gets exercise opening the shell to get to their treat.

  • almonds
  • Brazil nuts
  • hazelnuts
  • pecans
  • walnuts

For more information about pet diets, contact a pet healthcare facility such as Apple Valley Animal Hospital.